We continue to see that funeral directors who are members of the Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) are an especially resourceful group. They look at challenges as opportunities to shift business practices to accommodate changing regulations. They find ways to care for families while maintaining safety protocols. They reach out to one another in support and camaraderie.
As OGR hosts weekly on-line round tables and special topic webinars, valuable ideas are shared. For the busy funeral director taking part in these conversations may not be an option, so we have gathered some of the most relevant tips and offer them for your consideration
Number of Covid-19 Cases Update
More OGR members are caring for Covid-19 death cases in both large and small towns. Vander Plaat Funeral Home in Wykoff, NJ, Schuyler Hill Funeral Home in Bronx, NY, and Arlington Memorial Chapel & Crematory in Quezon City, Philippines have had an overwhelming number of coronavirus cases this week.
Tips for Visitations and Funeral Services
1. “If your funeral home’s architecture allows for it, consider setting up a drive-by visitation. At our funeral home, we have the immediate family sitting inside the funeral home by the first large window where they can safely visit with friends who remain in their car. At the second large window, we have set up the casket so visitors can pay respects.” ~ Jon Kolssak, Kolssak Funeral Home, Wheeling, IL
2. Call families you have served during the coronavirus pandemic each week to see how they are doing. When the sanctions lift, ask when they would like to schedule a memorial service. Consider offering a discount on the delayed service to encourage them to commit at the time of initial arrangements. ~ Joe E. Pray, Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte, MI
3. Have families select memorial folders, music and other service related items at the time of arrangements so they will be ready for a future memorial service. ~ Jessica Olson, Bradley Funeral Home and Crematory, Antigo, WI
4. If you work with a funeral celebrant, try to connect the family with the celebrant and let them begin to put together the memorial service. This is both healing for the family and also allows the service to be ready when the stay-at-home orders are lifted. ~ Joe E. Pray, Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte, MI
5. If you serve a veteran’s family during the COVID-19 pandemic AND you have a retired military veteran on your staff, consider having the staff member put on his/her military uniform and present the flag to the family. Once the national cemeteries are back offering military honors, you can schedule the formal presentation for the veteran’s family. ~ Jim Rudolph, Veterans Funeral Care, Clearwater, FL
Suggestions for Maintaining Safety
6. “Consider running an ozone air filter in your funeral home to sanitize the air. We use one from Echo Quest and put it on high every night when the building is empty. You can also use it to clean masks by putting the masks in a room with the air filter for an hour. Just be aware that it will deteriorate tubing and latex gloves, so store these items in a drawer.”
Chris Miller, Thomas Miller Mortuary & Crematory, Corona, CA
7. In addition to utilizing your usual supplier network, check local medical supply stores for PPE or local companies that may have switched their operations to manufacturing various PPE items.
Look at how OGR members are communicating with their communities through their websites and social media pages regarding COVID-19. You are welcome to use their ideas and come up with some of your own to share with everyone.
OGR’s next round table will be held Thursday, April 16 at 3:00 PM EDT. This discussion is open to OGR members only. Learn more and register at www.ogr.org/covid19#Virtual. If you’ve already signed up, no need to register again. It’s the same link each week.
By Nancy Weil
OGR Member Resources Director